Wake and Bake: Blackberry Crumb Cake

Carrie Vasios

Every year I look forward to summer, specifically to those days when I can gorge myself on fruit crumbles. Blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums—you name it and I'll put it in a baking dish, cover it with buttery crumbs, and bake it until it's hot and bubbling and oh so delicious. The fruit isn't quite there yet. Things are getting better, especially here in California, but the berries are still like baby fawns. Knock-kneed and not quite ready to carry a dish on their own.

The solution is a crumb cake, which, it occurred to me after I took my first bite, I make far too few of. The coffee cake layer is soft and sweet, full of that unmistakable taste of real, fresh berries mingling with sugar and butter. Sour cream is the secret ingredient to keeping the cake pillowy. The top has big crumbs made from brown sugar, butter, and flour, with cinnamon and ground ginger for a little zing.


Despite the dual layers, this cake isn't actually too aggressive to eat for breakfast. (You can ask my fiancé who did just that for a week.) The first flavor is blackberries, the second vanilla, and finally the buttery brown sugar crumbs. A slice goes down mighty easy, though that's not to say you can't have another for dessert.